Dire Straits Alchemy on Blu-Ray

Dire Straits Blu-RayI used to watch this VHS all the time. My life probably wouldn’t be the same without Dire Straits, my favorite band of all time, so when it was announced that Alchemy would be remastered for a Blu-Ray release, I was psyched.

Just as a CD, Alchemy is fantastic. The audio quality is a bit lackluster, be it from the recording or the production of the CD, I don’t know, but the performance is top notch. The extended performances of Tunnel of Love and Sultans of Swing (6:15 and 5:07 longer than their album versions, respectively) are still amazing after listening to them countless times throughout my life, and the opening on Once Upon a Time in the West just sucks you in.

So, today, I ordered the Blu-Ray. A little word of warning for those in the U.S. of A.: don’t buy it from a mainstream U.S. store. There are sellers on the Amazon Marketplace that have it for roughly $20 instead of the $30 everyone else is asking, which, from what I hear, is because Warner Bros. is simply importing the regionless UK version into the United States instead of pressing their own, which jacks the price up for some reason.

I’m hoping to have my copy in-hand before I head out for Las Vegas and the west coast on July 4 so I can report back on it.

“Before It Breaks”, Song of the Month

Song of the month for April, 2010: Before It Breaks by Brandi Carlile.

I really discovered Brandi some time in mid October last year. My dad had bought her second CD, The Story, some time before, after hearing her on Pat Monahan’s (of Train) solo album Last of Seven. (The song is Pirate on the Run and it happens to be the best song on the album. The album has some other good tunes, but as a whole it’s a bit too “pop” for me.)

I had heard Brandi’s music here and there but never really paid attention until I started hearing some of her stuff playing at work, where we have all of our music on the server and have a rather large randomized playlist. I finally paid attention and realized it was some really good music.

Come Christmas, I gave my dad her new album, Give Up the Ghost, on vinyl, only mostly because he wanted it. 😉 As many new albums do, it took a bit of warming up for me; new and modified sounds and styles tend to throw me. But after a couple of listens, I knew that Give Up the Ghost was still great music, and one song in particular stood out to me.

That is, of course, Before It Breaks. Honestly, I don’t know what it means. I’m a bit slow on the uptake of song meanings; but with a beautiful piano lead (which happened to be inspired by Elton John, who spun another song from the album, Caroline, into a fantastic jam) and Brandi’s incredible vocals, this song quickly pushed its way into the rank of my “Temporary Favorite Song, Period”. That is to say, right now there is no song I like better, but it’s probably only a matter of time before that changes. Then again, it has been in the position since at least early February; I recall at the concert I had the pleasure of attending in Knoxville, Tennessee, I was practically the only one who clapped excitedly at the introduction of the song, though two others seemed to briefly follow my lead.

Speaking of concerts, even some of my least-liked Carlile songs became a thousand times better when experienced live. If you like any of her music, go to a concert. I hope I haven’t used the word “amazing” too many times in this post, because I’m too lazy to go check, but she and her band put on an amazing performance.

Anyway, the song was stuck in my head tonight, so spilling it into a blog post seemed like the right thing to do.

Dire Straits

Kyle was playing through the entirety of Dire Straits’ self-titled debut album for the wild guess of about the 1,663rd time in his life, so I decided to look for a live video of the song “Lions” on YouTube. I was waiting for the album version to finish playing before I watched it, so I scrolled down to the comments, which is usually a terrible idea on YouTube.

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Whistle While You Work

If you work in an office environment, you’re probably familiar with the sounds of computers humming, people coughing and the clearing of throats, shuffling of feet, and tapping of keys.

I’m trying to think of a portmanteau of “office” and “ambience”, but all I’m getting is “officebience” or “offbience”–neither of which works, so I’ll just drop it.

Either way, the ambience in an office is similar to the colors of a hospital; it makes you feel sick. It’s that work sound.

I’ve found it extremely important to spice up my work day with a constant stream of background music. Not too loud; you don’t want it to be distracting, but you want to be able to hear and enjoy the music. It makes things much less dull.

Do it now.